Archive for March, 2012

Palm Sunday

11am Blessing of Palms, Procession from Priory Centre & Sung Eucharist

This re-enacts the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem: we begin  by hearing the ‘Palm Gospel’ about this entrance, and receive our own Palm crosses. We ask God’s blessing on them and us, and then walk through the courtyard singing to God and proclaiming the glory of Christ’s lowly and yet triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Our service in church continues with the opening prayer. As during Holy Week as a whole, the ‘mood’ of the service changes dramatically halfway through from one of joyful celebration to the cries of ‘crucify’ as we hear together the Passion Gospel of Christ’s last week, proclaimed and read ‘dramatically’ by a group of us. The Communion continues as usual.

In Wales this Sunday is called Sul Y Blodau and traditionally is when people put flowers on their deceased relatives graves. Please do remember to clear flowers from the Garden of Rest after they have died.

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As you read this we shall be in Passiontide, and our minds will be firmly set on the Cross and our Lord’s Crucifixion. It is this single act which separates the God we Christian’s believe in from all other gods. Or God loved us so much that he was prepared to die the most cruel death on the cross for us – and in so doing tearing apart the totally united Trinity. For God  the Son this was the most terrible price to pay to be totally separate from the Trinity within which he is one.
How do we show our appreciation for that act? Do we feel called to give sacrificially in return. To give back to God, what is after all his, after his after we have done all we want with it, or is God and his Church  the first call on our time, gifts and money? In the Book of Deuteronomy God calls on the early Israelites to give the first fruits to him as an offering. The first of the harvest they pick, not the what is left over of the harvest after they have satisfied themselves.
As God was sacrificial, are we prepared to be sacrificial in return?
I want to take this opportunity – as we approach our Annual Vestry Meetings to say thank you to you all for all you do for the church in this place. Especially I want to thank the Wardens, PCC members and all who hold office so that the church may be properly administered. I encourage to attend your Vestry Meeting and be part of electing new officials and holding old officials to account.
May you have a blessed Holy Week & Easter

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Observant visitors to to the Lewis Chapel will have seen two rather strange measuring devices.

Officials of Newport City Museum have installed two of these gadgets to check on the temperature variations in the Chapel to see if we can house  a 17th Century Dutch Painting on loan from the National Art Collection.

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It has been decided to mark Fr Jeremy Winston’s first birthday since his death with a Celebratory Lunch at the Priory Centre.

Tickets for the Lunch on his Birthday (Sunday, May 20th) will be sold to raise funds for his Memorial Fund.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the Vicarage on (01873)853168 or email vicar@stmarys-priory.org.


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Fr John (Ass Priest) veils the crosses in preparation for Passiontide, assisted by Mrs Sheila Davies (Warden)

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We have been donated a County Flag of Monmouthshire to fly from our flag poll.

The flag was developed in association with the Flag Institute by the   Monmouthshire Association,  whose Patron is the Bishop of Monmouth.

The design is based on the arms attributed to the ancient kingdom of Gwent.

The Vicar, Fr Mark Soady said, “We are proud to fly this flag from the tower on appropriate days.”

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On the Day HM The Queen unveiled a new stained glass window at Westminster Hall presented  by Members of Parliament to mark Her Majesty’s Jubilee, we can confirm that its designer John Reyntier, is among the designers being considered for new windows in the Lewis Chapel.

Although we are at an early stage in the process, we are hoping to reinstate the four windows in the Lewis Chapel, probably starting with the large East Window.

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As the detailed route of the Olympic torch is announced today, we can confirm that the Bells of st Mary’s Priory will ring as the Torch goes through the town.

1t 12.15 The Vicar, Fr Mark Soady will lead prayers for all those involved in the Olympic Games.

the route

11.48 Abergavenny Monmouth Road (A40) from Gobanniun Way

Abergavenny Monmouth Road (A40)

Abergavenny Cross Street (A40)

Abergavenny Cross Street (A40) – Veer Left

Abergavenny Frogmore Street (A40) – turn left

Abergavenny Frogmore Street (A40)

Abergavenny Regent Street (A40)

Abergavenny Brecon Road (A40) – Turn Left

Abergavenny A4143

Abergavenny Merthyr Road (A4143)

Abergavenny Merthyr Road (A4143) – Turn Right 11:48

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Although the day has been dominated by the Grand-slam victory in Cardiff with lots of the personnel from here going to the game, we managed to pack in a load of other stuff as well.

The day started with Fr Bernard celebrating a Mass for St Patrick’s Day.

Then Sir Trefor Morris (Vicar’s Warden & Chair of the Priory House Company) did a piece to camera for a BBC 4 programme on the Jesse.

This extraordinary larger-than-life figure once formed the base of an intricate and elaborate construction, which depicted the lineage of Jesus Christ from Jesse, the father of King David.

So called ‘Jesse figures’ and ‘Jesse trees’ are not uncommon in stone and stained glass, but this is the only one in wood to be found in the United Kingdom – and probably the world.

In the BBC series A History of British Art, Andrew Graham Dixon describes it as ‘the only great wooden figure to survive the wreckage of the British Cultural Revolution’.

We do not know who carved it, but we do know that it retains its extraordinary command of our attention and fascination. Carved from one solid piece of oak, probably in the 15th century, it was originally highly coloured and depicted all the Davidic kings and descendants, surmounted by the figures of Mary and the Child, and Christ in glory.

Latest thought estimates the height of the ‘tree’ growing from Jesse’s side to have been between 25ft and 30ft.

Then to the St Patrick’s Day Coffee Morning at which parishioners could take a personal belonging of the late Vicar Fr Jeremy as a memento in return for  a donation to his Memorial Fund. Around £200 was raised for the fund.

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The Vicar, Fr Mark Soady, has paid tribute to the Most Revd & Rt Hon Rowan Williams following the announcement of his resignation as Archbishop Canterbury.

” He was not a man to leave behind physical monuments, but his time as Bishop of Monmouth & Archbishop of Wales will be remembered for his teaching and preaching. He is a greatly spiritual man , who exudes holiness.”

He was Bishop of Monmouth from 1992 – 2002 and Archbishop of Wales from 1999 -2002

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